Designed as the perfect follow-on to our award-winning Birding Guyana itinerary, this post-tour extension rewards the more adventurous birder with a look at the spectacular Sun Parakeet and Red Siskin and the very poorly known Hoary-throated Spinetail and Rio Branco Antbird in a little explored area close to Brazil.
This morning we will undertake the arduous drive from Karanambu towards Karasabi over rough road passing across the Rupununi Savannah that stretches across the central ranges of Guyana. Here Aplomado Falcons hunt over the expansive plains and Grassland Yellow Finch mix with a variety of seedeaters including Grey, Plumbeous, Yellow-bellied, and Ruddy-breasted. Sightings of Savannah and White-tailed Hawks will see us through the Pakaraima Mountains and finally to the scattered village of Karasabi where the residents are exceptionally friendly.
We will take time to visit with some of the locals and secure final permissions since there are very few visitors to this region and we want to secure future relations and conservation efforts since these people ultimately control the fate of the Sun Parakeet. This morning we will embark on a journey between the scenic mountains that border Guyana blanketed with deciduous hardwoods. This remote area is the only known site and possibly the only place left on earth where the critically endangered Sun Parakeet still survives in the wild. This vivid species once ranged widely across Suriname into northern Brazil but after years of feverish illegal trapping including rumours of entire planes jammed full with thousands of ill-fated birds, the world population now hangs in the balance with less than two hundred individuals thought to be remaining. We stand a very high likelihood of encountering these overpoweringly colourful parakeets as they fly through the valley and feed on the fruits of surrounding trees. The intense combination of yellow and red shared with the sheer sensation of watching one of the rarest and most beautiful birds on earth is an incredible experience that we will never forget.
Other more widespread birds we might encounter here include Yellow-breasted and Streaked Flycatchers, Hooded Tanager, Small-billed Elaenia, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Hepatic Tanager, and Green-rumped Parrotlet.
We will then transfer to Lethem and the Ori Hotel. Their staff will make you feel like part of the family with your security and comfort their number one priority. Ori Hotel also has a restaurant that prepares meals influenced by the blend of cultures represented in Lethem; their Tambaqui fish curry is famous.
Travel eastward from Georgetown to the Abary River to look for Blood-coloured Woodpecker and Rufous Crab-Hawk, the first of the many range-restricted species we will be hoping to find on this tour. The woodpecker is only known from a narrow coastal strip which runs eastward for just a few hundred miles from Guyana and finding this species will be one of our main priorities. We will also look for the poorly-known White-bellied Piculet which can be found in this area. An area of mangrove less than 50 kilometres from Georgetown is a good place to find Rufous Crab-Hawk, a species which has been badly affected by the reduction in this habitat type. This is also a reliable site for the Woodpecker and Piculet, so we stand an excellent chance of seeing all three species.
On our return journey to Georgetown, we will visit some mudflats where we are likely to find a range of waders as well as Scarlet Ibis, Black Skimmer, Brown Pelican and Magnificent Frigatebird. Depending on the time of year, we may also visit a heronry where Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-herons, Little Blue Herons and Cattle and Snowy Egrets breed alongside Snail Kites.
In the late afternoon there is an optional visit (extra cost) to the Demerara River. We will take a boat on the Demerara River to see the Scarlet Ibis.
Today enjoy a trip to Kaieteur Falls. This is the longest single drop waterfall in the world and a truly impressive sight, however, the area is also good for birds and we will hope to see both White-chinned and White-tipped Swifts. The flocks of swifts often attract Orange-breasted Falcons and, with luck, we may see this species hunting swifts with the falls providing a spectacular backdrop. Nearby, there is also a small Guianan Cock-of-the-rock lek which we will visit before re-boarding our plane for the flight to Georgetown where we will arrive in the late afternoon and spend the night.
Tomorrow continue with the full Birding Guyana itinerary (click here to view)
Why Travel with Wilderness Explorers?
For more than 20 years, we’ve been working at the crossroads of adventure travel and community tourism. Not from the sidelines or behind a desk, but on the ground. In the jungle. On the boats. Getting our feet dirty and seeing everything first-hand. Tourism isn’t our business – it’s our life. Our handcrafted itineraries prove it.
Our partners in the field aren’t just suppliers in the traditional sense: we are deeply involved with the development of the lodges, tours, training programs, and attractions that draw adventurous souls to this part of the world. Back in 1999 Wilderness Explorers was one of the first tour operators to embrace the now-fashionable idea of community tourism, partnering with the Amerindian Makushi village of Surama in Guyana to provide marketing and administrative support for that country’s first indigenously-operated ecolodge. These days we continue to work with lodges and regional consortiums with tourism development aspirations. Hand-in-hand we are building opportunities for economic growth that don’t rely on resource extraction or the mass-market.
We know that tour companies are increasingly looked upon as unnecessary middlemen in a world where the internet connects everyone with marvelous ease. And, no doubt, someone with ample time and patience could organize their journey independently. But we know that sometimes you want to spend less time researching and more time travelling. If that’s you, we can vastly simplify your trip planning, get you into the best (and often least-known) lodges, prioritize your activity list, and set you up for an unforgettable getaway. Having the time of your life once you get there? Well, that part is entirely up to you!